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A Guide to Garage Door Spring Replacement

Many of us take our garage doors for granted. Day in and day out, we use our garage to park our car, protect it from inclement weather and provide the simple conveniences that make life a little easier. As we pull up to the garage, we expect that with a tap of a button, we’ll be able to pull our car into our home and leave it safe and secure behind a closed door. But considering how many moving parts and how much weight is involved in an automatic garage door, it’s inevitable that as a door ages, things will start to malfunction. And as it matures, safety and reliability begin to suffer. One area that can wear down is the garage door spring system. As the source of the best garage door spring repair Cincinnati has to offer, we consider ourselves to be experts on the subject. And considering the risks, both in terms of financial costs and potential personal injury, that comes from trying to repair a garage door spring yourself, it’s important that you take these issues seriously. So that’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to garage door spring replacement. Within we’ll discuss what garage door springs do, how to spot a spring in need of repair, when and where to get a garage door spring repaired and why you should never try to repair a garage door spring on your own. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make the best decision for the safety of your family and the value of your home. With that being said, here’s our guide to garage door spring replacement.

What Exactly Does a Garage Spring Do?

Garage doors are heavy. Whether your garage door needs to be manually lifted or it’s attached to a mechanical lifter, if there were no garage springs, it would take a herculean effort to move, which would make it far less convenient than it’s designed to be.

It takes a lot of effort to move a garage door with no garage door springsThat’s why garage door springs are so important. These ultra strong springs are designed to counteract the weight of a door.

If you have a manual garage door, or if you detach your door from the lifting mechanism, you may notice that it takes about the same amount of force to lift your door as it does to lower it. This is because the springs are doing the majority of the lifting for you.

There are two main types of garage door springs installed in most garages. Torsion springs keep you door in a constant state of balance. Extension springs provide added lift to assist in raising the door. Torsion springs are the pricier of the two, but they’re more stable, last longer and pose less risk when breaking. They also provide a more fluid motion during lifting. Extension spring lifted doors are noticeably jerkier when moving. Many older garage doors have extension springs. Luckily, there are ways to convert an extension spring door to torsion springs, although this job should always be left to a professional.

Torsion springs keep your garage door in a constant state of balance

When Should I Replace My Garage Door Spring?

Beyond making lifting garage doors more manageable, garage door springs play a crucial role in reducing the wear and tear on your entire system. The balance and lift assistance provided by springs ensures that the lifting mechanism doesn’t wear out and that the tracks for your garage door don’t get abused by the constant up and down of your door. There are a couple of tests you can run to determine if it’s time to either replace or repair your garage door springs. Start by moving your door into the open position. Next, pull the lift release cord, which is usually marked by a red handle and hangs from your lift mechanism. This detaches the lift from the door, and is designed to revert your door to manual in the event that you lose power. When you release the lift mechanism from the door, it should not move or only move slightly. That’s because even without the lift mechanism, the springs should be strong enough to hold the weight of your door in the open position. If your door starts to sink back into the vertical tracks, that means that your springs can no longer fully hold your door in the open position. Next, pull the door in a halfway open position. First, if moving the door by hand is difficult or seems to be uncontrolled, that’s a sign of a problem. Second, if you do move the door into the halfway open position and it starts to sink, again that means that your springs are no longer strong enough to hold the door themselves. This second test is important. Often a door will appear to be fine in the open position, but only because once it’s in the horizontal tracks, gravity isn’t pulling it straight down. This is not the case in the halfway position. If the door holds still in the halfway position, you’re good to go. If it can’t maintain its position, it’s time to contact a repair professional. If you have extension springs, you can also do a quick visual inspection to determine if it’s time for a spring replacement. Simply look at the springs and see if you can see gaps in the coils. If you do, it’s time to call a repair specialist. You should also keep in mind that sometimes a garage door spring doesn’t need to be replaced, but instead readjusted. For example, changing temperatures can cause your garage door spring to lose its ideal tension level. While the spring might be physically in good shape, the effects of temperature changes might have caused your springs to fall out of balance, which — not unlike misaligned tires on your car — can cause you garage door mechanism to wear down unevenly.

If you see gaps in the garage door spring coils, call a repair specialist

Why Is a Balanced Door so Important Anyway?

While we have indicated that an easy to lift door is the proof of properly functioning springs, some might wonder why being able to lift a door easily by hand is such a big deal in the first place. True, it might be a hassle if there’s a power outage, but if the lifting mechanism is doing the work, who cares if the door is heavy? To begin with, good garage door springs reduce wear on the lifting mechanism. While your lift may appear to be functioning fine, the constant strain of an overweight door will drastically reduce the life of the lift. And replacing the lift is far more expensive than replacing a couple of springs. Furthermore, an out of balance door might start to show cosmetic wear on the exterior, especially if the imbalanced lift causes friction between the door and tracking mechanism. If you’re beginning to see scrapes on the exterior paint of your garage door, imbalanced springs are likely to blame. Finally, a spring that breaks suddenly poses a number of dangers. While we’ll discuss the potential damage caused by the sudden release of spring tension later, it’s also worth noting that if a spring fails while the door is in the open position, the resulting crash could have catastrophic consequences to your property and family. While it’s far more likely that you will suffer property damage from the sudden crashing of a door that is no longer being held in position, there will always be a chance that either a beloved pet or a family member is standing under or near the door when it falls. Of course, the full weight of a door falling on a person can be fatal. However, keep in mind that other injuries can be caused by a cascade of damage that begins with a falling door. Perhaps there are some tools being sitting under the door. As the door falls, those tools could be thrust in the air with great force, turning them into dangerous projectiles. That being said, if you do see your door crashing or you hear the sound of a spring snapping — which is usually extremely loud — do not attempt to stop the door from coming down. Remember, when you lift the door by hand, you’re being aided by the spring. If the door is falling because the spring has failed, it will be much more forceful than when you previously lifted it. Additionally, you want to make sure that nothing else is poised to break. For example, if you have a multiple spring system, you may witness the results of one spring failing. However, at that point, the other spring is still in tension and is likely bearing far more weight than was originally intended. If you do hear a spring break or see your door falling, it’s best that you not attempt to inspect the damage yourself, but instead call a professional who will be able to more safely assess the issue and make the necessary repairs. True, you could go years without noticing the effects of a failing spring system in your garage door. However, all it takes is one snap of the spring to cause  dangerous and damaging events. That’s why you want to make sure that your springs are in peak condition at all times.

Garage door spring injuries amounted to 313 in 2007 alone

Why Not Replace My Own Garage Spring?

Replacement garage door springs are available at many local hardware stores, so it’s tempting to try and save money and do it yourself. How hard could replacing a spring be anyways? Unfortunately, there are very significant risks to taking the DIY approach. Keep in mind that the average garage door is hundreds of pounds, therefore the spring much hold enough tension to be able to lift this weight.

As a result, garage door springs are constantly under incredible pressure. When you remove that spring, you release that pressure. By doing so, you’re generating a large amount of kinetic energy, and that energy has to go somewhere. The result usually comes in the form of a spring flying through the garage at incredible speeds. Consider the evidence left behind when a garage door spring breaks on its own, when no one is around. Many people have gone into their garage in the morning on their way to work only to find their windshield smashed or their tools strewn across the floor. While a homeowner’s first impulse is to assume they were robbed, upon further inspection, they discover that their spring had snapped in the middle of the night.

If a snapped spring can cause that kind of damage to a car or other property, imagine what it could do to you if it were to snap while you were trying to remove. Keep in mind that springs are usually installed in tight spaces along the door tracks. To remove them, you must put yourself into that tight space, meaning your body, including your face, will be very close when the tension is released. In fact, according to Garage Door Child Safety, springs caused 313 significant injuries in 2007 alone. The injuries caused by a spring are so extreme that many have proven fatal. Others have reported losing fingers, deep puncture wounds and other major injuries. 

Significant injuries from garage door springs Even if the injury from a door spring is minor, keep in mind that springs are old and may be rusty, meaning that you run the risk of tetanus or other infections if you’re cut. While a tetanus shot is preferable to much more serious reconstructive surgery, it still isn’t worth the money saved by trying to replace a spring on your own. In fact, replacing springs is not that expensive. Considering the risk, a replacement spring is far cheaper than hospital bills. And of course, no price can be set for the cost of replacing a loved one.

Simply trying to readjust your springs on your own is dangerous too. Even if you know that you do not need to replace your springs, but instead simply need to readjust the tension, it’s still imperative that you trust a professional to do the job. While there are a number of ways to save money around your home by taking a DIY approach, when it comes to replacing and repairing garage door springs, this is a job that should ALWAYS be left to a professional.

What Is The Average Garage Door Spring Repair Cost?

While we’re on the subject of garage door spring repair cost, what should you expect to pay if you’re in need of a repair or replacement? According to Angie’s List, the average garage door spring replacement costs around $200. While the spring itself isn’t very expensive, there are some associated labor costs, especially if your particular garage door model places the springs in a hard to reach place.

The average garage door spring replacement costs $200 If you have a dual spring system, in all likelihood only one spring will need to be replaced immediately. However, because balance and even wear is an important concern when dealing with garage door springs, it’s strongly recommended that you always replace springs in pairs. That way you can be more confident in their balance and you won’t need to pay the labor costs of a replacement job in a few months, as the older spring is likely near the end of its life as well. If you aren’t replacing your garage door spring, then the price will be cheaper, as you’re only paying for labor. However, again, the money saved by trying to make adjustments at home do not outweigh the risks of doing it yourself. Furthermore, the type of precision that is possible with a professional adjustment will save you money in the long run, as it will extend the life and value of the rest of your garage door system.

Where To Get Garage Spring Repaired?

If you live in the greater Cincinnati area or Northern Kentucky, there is one place that has the experience, professionalism and personal touch to make sure that you get your garage spring replaced or repaired the right way. Here at AE Door and Window, we have over 35 years of experience serving the Cincinnati community with garage door spring replacement. Over this time we have become experts on replacing and changing garage door springs. There isn’t an issue we haven’t seen, and we’ll do whatever is necessary to get your door up and running again. In fact, we pride ourselves in our quick response times and efficient work on site. We know that a malfunctioning garage door is a huge inconvenience. Maybe you discovered the issue when you were trying to leave for work or had the kids packed into the van on the way to a soccer game. As a family business, we know how important these things are for other hard working families in the area. That’s why we’re going to do everything in our power to get your door functioning quickly so that you can go back to your day.

We treat all of our customers like family But just because we get it done quickly doesn’t mean we don’t do our garage door repairs and installations with the utmost care. We treat every garage door as if it were our own, every family we work with as if they were our family. So while you may be able to find someone promising a quick fix, know that our fixes are also the best fixes, meaning that you can enjoy your perfectly functioning garage door for years to come. Plus, as a full service garage door repair and installation service, if we discover that your issues are bigger than just a broken garage spring, we have the means and the know-how to finish the job. If you need a new lift in addition to a new spring, we can help you find the lift that works best for your door. If we discover that your door has been severely damaged by the fall from a broken spring, we can help you find a replacement that is as durable as it’s beautiful and consult with you on a design that will perfectly match the look and feel of your home.

Need Garage Door Spring Repair? Contact Us Today 

So whether you’re interested in having your garage door springs inspected, need new garage springs installed or you’re simply in the market for a whole new garage door system, we eagerly await the opportunity to talk with you about your specific garage door needs. Contact our friendly and knowledgeable staff today and receive a free estimate or schedule service right away. Either way, you deserve a beautiful and highly functional garage door and we are the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky garage door experts who can get you what you deserve. Subscribe to our newsletter for more useful tips and company updates!     

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